Up dated 01/04/2010
has retired from the space industry, where he worked as chief engineer for 40
years. He was actively involved in the
development of rockets and satellites for the French and European space
programmes. Thus, he participated in the
DIAMANT and ARIANE programmes as well as on the METEOSAT, SPOT, HELIOS
satellites programmes, furthermore in various telecommunication and scientific
satellites programmes such as ARABSAT 1, TELECOM 2, GIOTTO, as well as the
French manned flights in co-operation with USSR.
This allowed him to visit all the launch sites worldwide (except those
in China) and to become acquainted with the main private
astrophilatelic societies linked to the major European aerospace companies, as
well as many of the European astronauts.
These close associations gave him the idea to start collecting
Astrophilately as early as 1974.
Up until 2001, he
remained associated with the aerospace, since he was the Secretary General of
the Aeronautical and Astronautical Society of France (AAAF), which brings
together French aerospace engineers and technicians. To day, he remains member of this Society and
was graduated Associate Fellow In 2004. He is member of the French Institute of
Space History (IFHE).
He was awarded the
French Medal of Aeronautics and the Medal of CNES (French Space Agency).
As well as these
technical activities, Jean-Louis Lafon is also very active in the field of
philately in France. He
was deeply involved with the French Federation of Philately. First, as vice-president of the Group of
Philatelic Societies of Ile-de-France (GAPHIL) from 2000 to 2006 and also as
the first French accredited juror for the Astrophilately Class. He gave several lectures on the
implementation of the SREVs and Guidelines for Astrophilately at Jurors’
Meetings and at Philatelic Societies Presidents’ Meetings in France. He
also had three of his articles published in La
Philatélie Française, the journal of the French Philatelic Federation and
in ORBIT, the journal of the Astro
Space Stamp Society.
In 1998, he was
appointed delegate of the French Philatelic Federation to the FIP Section for
Astrophilately. And in October 2000 he
was elected secretary of the Section up to 2008. Since 1990, he has been involved in
translating into French, the English version of the SREV and Guidelines for
Astrophilately, on behalf of the FIP Section for Astrophilately.
He founded the
first French Astrophilatelic Society (AAF) in March 2001 and became its first
President. AAF is affiliated to the French Federation of Philately. He publishes
a quarterly bulletin "Le Cosmophil” in French language.
Jean-Louis has exhibited both of his collections: The European Rockets and From
the First Manned Missions to the ASTP Mission at several World Exhibitions
and he has received several Large Silver, Vermeil and Large Vermeil awards.
In June 2007, he
was awarded "la Plaquette BISCARA”, a French philatelic distinction as a reward
for his devotion to the French Philatelic Federation and to the Group of
Philatelic Societies of Ile-de-France (GAPHIL).
AAAF = Association Aéronautique et Astronautique de France
Groupement des Associations Philatéliques de l’Ile-de-France
AAF = Association
Astrophilatélique de France
FIP = Fédération
Internationale de Philatélie
IFHE = Institut Français d’Histoire